Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander with Home Instead Senior Care and today I am going to be talking about how to help your parents have good communications with their healthcare providers.
Right now, we are going to talk about what legal medical forms and information they need to have in place. If you are going to play an active role in the management of your parents' healthcare, especially through communications with their medical providers, the first thing you are going to need to do is have them sign a Medical Release Form.
A Federal Law known as HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects the privacy of everyone's medical information.
HIPAA doesn't allow your parent healthcare providers to share their medical information with anyone unless your parent can give them permission by filling out an authorization for release of information form.
You can ask your parents' medical providers, if they require a specific form but there are many generic forms on the internet that you can download.
In general, the form should include the following information:Your parents' name and date of birth, the name of your healthcare provider or organization who is releasing the information, the name of the person such as yourself with whom the information can be shared, what information your parents wish to share, the dates when the information can be shared and your parents' signature.
Do let your parents know that these permission forms can be cancelled by them at anytime for any reason.
The next three forms that you may want to suggest to your parents are called Advanced Medical Directives. These forms pertain to treatment preferences and the designation of the surrogate decision-maker in the event that your parent should become unable to make medical decisions on their own behalf.
Advanced Directives generally fall under three categories: Healthcare Proxy, Durable Power Of Attorney and Living Will.
A Healthcare Proxy is a legal document in which your parents designate another person to make healthcare decisions, if he or she is rendered incapable of making their own wishes known.
The Healthcare Proxy has in essence, the same rights to request or refuse treatment that the individual would have if capable of making and communicating decisions.
Another type of document called the Medical Power of Attorney. Power of Attorney for healthcare or patient advocate designation names a specific person to act as the patient's agent, proxy or attorney in fact.
It generally gives the appointed person legal authority to assure the patient's wishes are being followed and can make all other decisions related to medical care, including consenting to or refusing any medical treatment or diagnostic procedure related to physical or mental health including artificial nutrition and hydration.
Hiring and firing medical providers. Admitting them to and discharging them from hospitals and long-term care facilities. Accessing all medical records and giving directions regarding organ donation.
The third document your parents want to consider is a Living Will, which specifies in writing what types of medical treatments are desired.
The most common statement in a Living Will reads, if I suffer an incurable, irreversible illness, disease or condition and my attending physician determines that my condition is terminal, I direct that life-sustaining measures that would serve only to prolong dying be withheld or discontinued.
This document lets medical professionals and other decision makers know your parents preferences and can authorize someone to speak on the person's behalf.
Without a Living Will patients who can't communicate maybe left to the confused decisions of squabbling family members or the mercy of doctors who might use artificial means to prolong life or refuse to do so, your parent may also want to consider having it out of hospital, Do Not Resuscitate order or DNR.
This document allows your parents to stay, that they do not want to be resuscitated if they stop breathing or their heart stops beating without this document calling 911 will always result in resuscitative attempts.
In addition to discussing advanced directives with your parents, you can help him or her pull together, a personal medical history. This written list should include dates of health visits, sicknesses, treatments, immunizations, childhood illnesses, medications, allergies, hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor's names, insurance information and other facts such as significant family medical issues, lifestyle activities and work history that would be important to a healthcare practitioner, your parents may see in the future.
It's a good idea for both you and your parents to have a copy of this information and for them to take a copy to the medical appointments, especially if it was someone new.
Speaking of medical appointments, in the next video, we'll give you strategies to help your parents have good communication during these visits.